(QCOSTARICA) The Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, announced Friday 119 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day, the highest number recorded since March, bringing the total number of infected to 2,058.
But more concerning is the increase in the number of active cases, now 1,064 ( a couple of weeks ago it was under 300) and hospitalizations, which is now 29, the highest number ever and 5 in intensive care.
The figures led the Ministry of Health to reverse the reopening phase that would have begun this Saturday, a return of vehicular restrictions to those of Semana Santa and the suspension of the soccer final on Sunday.
What all this means is that all the good plans for the malls, retail stores, restaurants to open their doors on weekends are ono hold. Churches will remain closed. The expansion of beach hours are on hold, back to from 5:00 am to 8:00 am.
Driving this weekend is restricted only to supermarkets, pharmacies, and medical centers. Even-numbered plates (0,2,4,6,8) are restricted on Saturday and odd-numbered (1, 3,5, 7, 9) on Sunday.
Phase three of reopening will be subject to the behavior of the case curve in the coming days.
In addition, the entire canton of Alajuelita and Desamparados in the greater metropolitan area are now under an “orange alert”, with that even stricter restrictions.
The reasons for the clamping down on Alajuelita and Desamparados are high number of cases detected in clusters, such as the big house party in Alajuelita last week where 17 of the 50 attending tested positive.
“We are making the best effort to contain all these cases that are being registered today and our expectation is that with the measures that we are taking we are not going to enter the exponential route of which it costs a lot to return to normality; and an exponential situation would lead us to the collapse of the health services,” said the president of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, Dr. Roman Macaya.
“This number (119) is not like to say ‘nothing happens and we continue with the opening schedule’, not at all … we are hoping that the situation can be controlled, that we have a decrease in the cases,” Salas said.
Salas called to avoid Father’s Day celebrations, especially considering that there are many of them with risk factors and older adults.
“Let’s not have parties … send the gift, make a video call, a phone call, it is Father’s Day in a historic year.
“I do not like to have to give these recommendations, having to say that you do not have close contact with such an important person, but the gift we can give (dad) is to avoid becoming infected (…),” said Salas.
Vehicular restrictions this weekend:
Saturday, June 20:
- Even-numbered plates (0,2,4,6,8) cannot circulate from 5:00 am to 5:00 pm. On Saturday, the restrictions start at 10:00 am, to give people a chance to get back home from hotel, resorts, etc.
- From 5:00 pm Saturday to 5:00 am Sunday, total restriction.
Sunday, June 22:
- Odd-numbered plates (1, 3, 5, 7,) cannot circulate from 5:00 am to 5:00 pm.
- From 5:00 pm Sunday to 5:00 am Monday, total restriction.
For now, on Monday the daytime vehicular restrictions on will return at 5:00 am to 10:00 pm, based on the last number of the plate and total restrictions from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am.
For areas under Orange alert, the daytime restrictions will be from 5:00 am to 5:00 pm based on the last digit and total from 5:00 pm to 5:00 pm, from Monday to Sunday, until further notice.
Editor’s Note: More detail is awaited from the Ministry of Health and the National Emergency Commission (CNE).